Bill Atkins and the Legacy of Sid Nelson
Dr. William Atkins has been named the first Sid Nelson Endowed Professor in Medicinal Chemistry. Bill joined the Med Chem faculty in 1991. His research focuses on the biochemical nature of detoxification enzymes and on drug metabolism, with emphasis on biophysical mechanisms. He has been awarded several NIH grants for his research on enzyme systems. His lab also focuses on characterization of nanoparticles for drug delivery and targeted therapy.
“I am honored to receive this professorship, which is really a tribute to Sid’s life and work,” said Bill with typical modesty. “I hope our work in the lab will be a credit to his legacy.”
Sid Nelson was Dean Emeritus of the School of Pharmacy, and a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. He passed away suddenly in December 2011. The Sid Nelson Memorial Fund, an expression of both grief and regard for Sid, was built with contributions from family, friends, colleagues, together with donations from private industry. The memorial fund later became the Nelson Endowed Professorship; Bill, who was a colleague and co-author with Sid over the years, is its inaugural recipient.
Allan Rettie, Professor and Chairman of Medicinal Chemistry, said: “This is the first named Professorship in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry. That’s an exciting development for us, and Bill is a most worthy recipient.”
School of Pharmacy Dean Tom Baillie said of Bill, “He possesses the devotion to research and education that were the hallmarks of Sid’s career.”
That’s high praise indeed, and we, his colleagues in Med Chem, couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Bill!
Medicinal Chemistry Hosts International P450 Conference
The Department of Medicinal Chemistry is excited to host the "18th International Conference on Cytochrome P450s: Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structure," to be held at the UW from June 18-22, 2013. This biennial conference has been bringing Cytochrome P450 scientists together in interesting locations for over three decades.
The series was established in 1976 as a means of facilitating contacts between scientists in this area working in Eastern Bloc and Western countries, but has developed into a timely international series with meetings rotating among Europe, Asia, and North America. "It is an honor to host this meeting," said Bill Atkins, chairman of this year's conference. "It reflects the Department's long-standing contributions to the Cytochrome P450 field."
Please visit the conference web site for additional information.
Med Chem Professor Wins MLK Volunteer Award
Dr. Carlos Catalano, Professor in Medicinal Chemistry, was awarded a Volunteer Recognition Award during the Health Sciences Center's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on January 17 in the HSB lobby. The award winners are named by the UW Health Sciences deans.
Among other community commitments, Dr. Catalano has been instrumental in facilitating the Pharmacological Sciences Summer Diversity Program, which provides research opportunities for talented undergraduate students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. He also serves as faculty adviser for UW's chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Started in 2007 with just five members, SACNAS at UW won Chapter of the Year in 2011 and hosted the national conference in 2012. Dr. Catalano says his role as adviser is mostly to "stay out of the way," but we know better.
Congratulations, Carlos, and thanks for your dedication to our students!
School of Pharmacy Welcomes 2012-2013 Students
On September 21, Department Chairs Allan Rettie (Medicinal Chemistry) and Ken Thummel (Pharmaceutics) joined Dean Tom Baillie in welcoming new graduate students and postdocs to the School of Pharmacy for the 2012 academic year.
Joining the school this year are: Robert Pelletier, Michelle Redhair, and James Williams (Medicinal Chemistry); and Alenka Jaklic, Jing Jing, Vineet Kumar, Michael Liao, David Plotnik, and Eli Weber (Pharmaceutics). In addition, Med Chem welcomes Aaron Teitelbaum, Research Associate in the Totah lab, and Michael Wilson, Research Consultant in the Goodlett lab. Others who have kind of slipped in among us over the past few months are Yu Liang (Lee lab) and Yue Huang (Goodlett lab). And, Moon Young Yoon (Atkins lab), who was our lone Visiting Scholar, now has company in that category. Welcome to Eric Chan, Karl Kallan, and Anne Margrete Øyan, who will be associated with some of the Goodlett lab projects.
A warm welcome, support, and best wishes to our new students! Welcome back, current students! And welcome to the circus, postdocs and staff!
Congratulations, Med Chem Class of 2012
Congratulations to the following students, who received the Doctor of Philosophy in Medicinal Chemistry during commencement exercises held at Meany Hall on June 8, 2012:
Matthew T. Honaker
B.S. 2002, Western Kentucky University
Dissertation: "Conformational Heterogeneity and Catalytic Promiscuity in Glutathione Transferases."
Clara K. Hsia
B.S. 2002, Harvey Mudd College
Dissertation: "Biochemical and Mechanistic Studies of the Interactions Between Vitamin K Antagonists and Vitamin K Epoxide Reductase."
Elizabeth Vi Nguyen
B.S. 2004, University of Washington
Dissertation: "Searching for Protein Biomarkers of Disease in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid."
Oliver Thomas Parkinson
B.S. 2002, University of Kansas
Dissertation: "Species Differences in the Toxicity of Naturally Occurring Furans."
B.S. 1999, Tongji Medical University
Dissertation: "Investigation of Surface Interactions Between Cytochrome b5 and Major Cytochrome P450 Isoforms."
Best wishes to our graduates as they move into the next phase of their lives and careers.
NOTE: Photos are courtesy of Zufei Zhang and Ben Zheng, Pharmaceutics. Thanks, Zufei and Ben!
Shannon Kruse Appointed to Molecular Physics (T32) Training Grant
Medicinal Chemistry graduate student Shannon Kruse (Carlos Catalano lab) has recently been awarded funding from a NIH/NIGMS T32 Predoctoral Molecular Biophysics Training Grant. The grant is renewable up to three years and provides partial stipend and tuition funding, and financial support to attend conferences.
"I am so grateful to have this grant support," Shannon said. "I enjoy working with viruses; they're fascinating!" In addition, the grant gives Shannon the opportunity to attend the upcoming FASEB conference to share ideas and get feedback on her work.
Shannon will continue her research on the thermodynamic characterization of the bacteriophage lambda capsid maturation process. She is also working with the gpD decoration protein which adds on the surface of the virus and helps with stability. "Among other things, our lab is working to understand how this protein helps stabilize the virus shell," said Shannon. "We are characterizing its addition on the capsid surface to better understand the effect on virus assembly and DNA packaging into viral capsids."
Congratulations to Shannon on receiving this award!
Kelly Lee Receives NIH Grant
Dr. Kelly Lee, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, has been awarded a $1.45 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study some of the more elusive but fundamental aspects of influenza virus membrane fusion. Dr. Lee will focus on determining what drives the fusion process, in addition to the nature of membrane deformations during fusion, which currently is not well understood.
Using electron cryotomography, small-angle X-ray scattering with 3-D shape reconstruction, and Hydrogen-Deuterium exchange with mass spectrometry analysis, the Lee lab will study the interplay between the hemagglutinin fusion protein, the viral matrix layer, and host cell membranes during fusion of the influenza virus with the host. In addition, through a variety of collaborations, the Lee lab is starting to investigate the mechanism of action of small molecule compounds that inhibit the fusion process.
"We're delighted to have received the NIH support, and look forward to learning a lot about the fundamental physical event, protein-mediated membrane fusion, that underlies cell invasion by an important human pathogen," said Kelly.
Congratulations to Kelly and the Lee lab on receiving support for this exciting research!
Eri Nakatani Awarded Magnuson Scholarship
Med Chem graduate student Eri Nakatani (Carlos Catalano lab) has been awarded the prestigious Magnuson Scholarship for 2012. The University names six Magnuson Scholars annually, one from each of the health sciences schools. Awardees are selected on the basis of academic performance and potential contributions to health sciences research.
As a Magnuson Scholar, Eri will focus on developing therapeutic nanoparticles derived from viral proteins. Her work involves the incorporation of an HIV-1 surface glycoprotein (gp160) into a water soluble, nanoscale lipid bilayer system (nanodiscs), which might someday be useful as an HIV vaccine. The project is a collaborative one involving the Catalano lab, Dr. Shiu-Lok Hu (Pharmaceutics), and Dr. Bill Atkins (Med Chem).
In addition, Eri is working on the thermodynamic characterization of the bacteriophage lambda capsid maturation process in vitro, under the guidance of Dr. Carlos Catalano, and with assistance from Dr. Kelly Lee (Med Chem). "Lambda virus has utility here as a model system for herpes viruses, but we also hope to use it as a platform for the development of targeted nanoparticles for use in therapeutics and/or diagnostics," Eri said.
"I am so honored to have received this opportunity to take my research to a new level and broaden my scientific horizons," said Eri. "I look forward to continuing my work on nanoparticle therapeutics and hope to obtain valuable feedback at conferences I might otherwise have been unable to attend."
Jean Dinh Appointed to Clinical Research (TL1) Training Grant
The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) TL1 Multidisciplinary Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Grant is a year-long training experience funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). The program allows grant recipients to work as part of an interdisciplinary team doing research that focuses on identifying major clinical problems, addressing these problems in the laboratory, and bringing bench discoveries into clinical practice. Jean Dinh (Rheem Totah lab) has recently received funding from this predoctoral training grant.
"I applied for the grant by submitting a proposal that addresses studying methadone pharmacokinetics with regards to CYP2B6 CYP3A4, and P-gp in healthy human subjects," said Jean. "The grant will help to support processing and analyses of the samples."
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